UPDATED: 8:50 a.m. ET —
A county in the battleground swing state of Georgia reportedly didn’t have a single operating voting machine as polls opened on Election Day. Local news outlet CBS 46 reported Tuesday morning that “all voting machines are down” in Spalding County in the metro Atlanta area.
Georgia is a state that has traditionally been won by Republican candidates. It is also led by Gov. Brian Kemp, the former Georgia secretary of state who allegedly rigged his own election in 2018. Joe Biden and Donald Trump held multiple rallies across the state in an 11th hour appeal to voters, underscoring the state’s importance to the election’s eventual winner. Spalding County’s population of more than 66,000 people is about 34 percent Black.
Whether it’s through voting machines that were not operating correctly (read: broken) once polling places opened or if those polling places even opened at all, there was a growing sense that voters would be subjected to a range of voter suppression efforts as Election Day voting officially got underway.
Both of those scenarios and others were already playing out in parts of the country early Tuesday morning, according to tweets posted that claimed to document their adverse experiences at the polls.
Some polling places in New York City were reported as not opening on time as lines that began forming as early as 3 a.m. continued to get longer. While the reports were not immediately verified, they will probably foreshadow a steady stream of similar claims expected throughout Election Day across the U.S.
A similar scenario was allegedly playing out elsewhere Tuesday morning, as well.
While voter suppression has been a constant since before — and because — Black people were allowed to vote, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp seemingly fine-tuned the process against Stacey Abrams in the 2018 midterm elections. Now, the apparent powers have taken pages from both playbooks and ramped efforts in the hours before Election Day in Texas.
That’s where you’ll find Harris County, which is also the home of Houston, the state’s largest city with sizeable Black and Latino populations that reports say are united against Trump at the poll. That’s also where County Clerk Chris Hollins announced late Monday that his office was closing nine places where voters could drive-thru and cast their ballots, leaving just one single location to do so.
By the way, Trump has been clinging to a slim polling lead over Biden in the battleground swing state that could determine the outcome of the election.
The Texas Tribune reported that “Nearly 127,000” voters cast their ballots in the early voting period using the drive-thrus, a relatively modest number considering Harris County’s population of more than 4.7 million. But the point was clear — someone wasn’t playing fair during what has been widely described as the most consequential presidential election in modern history.
In anticipation of these suspected plots to keep voting levels down — a scenario that pollsters say would favor Trump — largely Democratic-friendly groups have launched pre-emptive strikes to stem the effects of voter suppression four years after Russia was accused of helping the president get elected.
For instance, more than 40 stadiums and arenas have been transformed into polling sites to combat voter suppression within communities of color, thanks to professional athletes and sports franchises stepping up to create safe spaces where individuals can exercise their right to vote.
There’s only one reason why such drastic steps would be taken in a country where voting is a right, Trevor Baldwin wrote last month: “there is such pervasive deficiency in our voting system one could make a legal argument of gross negligence.”
It’s a topic that our forever President Barack Obama was compelled to address after Trump appointed one of his cronies to oversee the United States Postal Service — an overt effort to affect the delivery of absentee ballots in time to be counted — when he should have been taking steps to confront the coronavirus pandemic.
“Everyone depends on the USPS. Seniors for their Social Security, veterans for their prescriptions, small businesses trying to keep their doors open,” Obama tweeted in August. “They can’t be collateral damage for an administration more concerned with suppressing the vote than suppressing a virus.”
Trump has all but admitted to his true intentions behind his USPS puppeteering and previously said he thinks mail voting could allow more Democrats to cast ballots and hurt Republican candidates like himself.
That prompted Obama to encourage people to vote early, a message clearly received as a record number of ballots were already cast before Election Day polling places officially opened Tuesday morning. And it sure seemed like the lion share of them were Black people.
That’s because polling by the Five Thirty Eight data analysis website shows that way more Black people were expected to vote early this year compared to 2016. That’s about 25 percentage points more than four years ago. The share of Black people who said they planned to vote by mail is also up significantly, the highest proportion among Black, white and Hispanic voters. Black people also led all voters who planned to cast their ballots in-person early voting numbers — 33 percent — which is an increase of 9 percentage points from 2016.
In addition, data show older Black voters made voting history well before Tuesday even got here. The reliable voting bloc has reportedly cast more early ballots than in the 2016 election — the most ever.
That’s the good news. The bad news is that voter suppression not only still exists but it is also apparently thriving.
With reports of voter suppression already on the books in the 2020 election, scroll down to see more examples of videos, memes, gifs and other social media posts reacting and related to all the efforts being taken to manipulate the democratic process that America loves to pride itself on.
Live Updates: Election Day Voter Suppression Reports Pour In As America Casts Ballots In Record Numbers was originally published on newsone.com